Little Bit of Color Hoodie How-To

Today I’m going to show you how to make the “Little Bit of Color” Hoodie I posted yesterday, which uses my Flashback Skinny Tee as its starting point. If you’re not sure you want to commit to buying the pattern (although it’s really really awesome…end shameless promotion), you could use Dana’s Basic Tee pattern, which is a classic-fit-tee style, or even trace a tee that you have lying around. This hoodie is pretty simple, so you can really do this with ANY tee pattern!

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You will need:

  • Rib knit, aka ribbing, for the contrast trim (I like 1×1 rib knit because it can be used for tees AND the neckbands, cuffs, trims, etc.)
  • Your basic tee pieces: front and back + two sleeves
  • Some knit stay tape (see this post for more info) or fusible interfacing
  • Snaps / buttons / velcro for the front closure

OK, let’s get started!

[1] Cut a strip of your contrast fabric (the rib knit or ribbing) so that it is 2.25″ wide for the trim [Where did that number come from? It’s 2x the finished width we want (3/4″) plus 2x the seam allowance, in this case 3/8″].

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Make sure the ribs are perpendicular to the length of the strip. The length you need will depend on how big your hoodie is and how deep you want the opening on the front. One yard is usually long enough though.

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[2] Sew the shoulder seams together on your tee.

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[3] Now you need to trace a hood that fits your kid. Elliot has a couple of sweatshirts (despite his best efforts to lose them at school), so I just traced the best-fitting hood onto paper with a pencil. The bottom was shaped like an “S” so I imitated that curve. Then do a check: take a tape measure and measure along the bottom of the hood from the front edge to the back edge. This should be roughly half the distance around the neck hole. If it’s not, add or subtract from the front of the hood until it’s the right length. Don’t sweat this too much: hoods are pretty forgiving, and knits are stretchy, so you can ease in a bit of difference — but you want it close, not way off. BUT WAIT! Don’t forget to add the seam allowance (3/8″) around the back and bottom of the hood!

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[4] Cut two hood pieces and sew them together along the back.

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[5] Check again that the hood is the right size for your shirt.

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I also like to clip a little curve off the top of the center front at this point. In case my hood is too big for the neckline, I can sew the edges down that curve instead of over top of each other.

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[6] Press a crease in the center front and back of the tee to mark the center, then attach a 4-5″ strip of fusible interfacing or knit stay tape down the center line of the tee, on the INSIDE of the tee. Mark the center line with chalk.

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[7] Pin the edges of the hood to the neck hole, right sides together; then sew them together.

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(I DON’T actually recommend cutting the center open as shown here. Leave that for later [step 9]. But you can trim the edges where the hood meets the center so they are smoother, as shown.)

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[8] Gently stretch and pin the strip of trim around along the edge of the center line, around the edge of the hood, and back down along the center line, beginning and ending with a fold. The edges of the trim on opposite sides of the center should be even with each other (since you haven’t cut the middle open yet).

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[9] Sew 3/8″ away from the edge of the trim to attach it. Sew with the trim on top. I use a narrow and slightly longer zigzag stitch along with a ballpoint needle. NOW cut carefully down the center, between the edges of the trim.

[10] Press the trim away from the seam. Then press under 3/8″ along the opposite side of the contrast trim.

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NOT SHOWN BUT REALLY IMPORTANT: At this point it’s a really good idea to take a strip of interfacing or stay tape and fuse it to the inside of the trim (on both sides, along the entire front opening) to give your snaps something to hold on to. If you don’t do this, your snaps will stretch the trim every time you open them, eventually pulling through your trim and making holes…and you will be very, very sad. I actually had to retro-fit the first (grey) version I made with little pieces of fabric for the snaps to cover up the holes in the fabric they had made. Hey, I learn something new every day. Learn from my mistakes!

[11] Fold the trim over to the outside of the hoodie so that it conceals the stitches you just made. It’s really important to make sure the edge *just* conceals the stitches; you need it to overlap nicely at the bottom, so be especially careful there.

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Pin it in place, press it (don’t skip this!), and stitch it down along the edges. Press the whole shebang again. Pressing is important. Maybe THE most important thing in this tutorial, actually.

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[12] Decide which side of the bottom of the opening looks better. Place that side on top. Pin together at the bottom and sew a square through both layers to overlap the bottoms.

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[13] Put some snaps on it. If you’re brave, sew buttonholes/buttons. Sometimes I sew two buttons on, through both layers, for a faux buttonhole look. The buttons won’t work, but they look nice and it’s less risky (just check that it will still go over their head before you do this).

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[12] Add the sleeves and cuffs as called for in the pattern. Hem the shirt, and you’re finished!

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One last thing: you can kind of see in the picture above what happened with the first version I made. The trim was too narrow (I only cut it 1.5″ wide), so when the snaps went on, they went over the edge of the trim and ripped the tee. Oops! So I had to take them out. This was not easy…it involved two pliers. Then I folded little rectangular flaps of woven fabric around the edge and stitched it down to create a spot for the snaps to hold onto and cover up the holes. Anyway. Like I said, you can always learn something from my mistakes.

Happy Sewing!

This post is part of Celebrate the BOY, a series of boy sewing posts hosted by me and Dana of MADE. Here’s what we’ve done so far:

DAY 1: Rae: Saffron Pants and Color Roundup / Dana: 5 Steps to the Basic Tee
DAY 2: Rae: Little Bit of Color Hoodie / Dana: Pants Roundup
DAY 3: Rae: Hoodie Tutorial / Dana: Kids Shorts/Pants with Back Pocket Tutorial

Head over to made to see what Dana’s up to! or check out my Celebrate the BOY archives for even more boy sewing posts!

18 thoughts on “Little Bit of Color Hoodie How-To

  1. This is fabulous! And I learned some new things. Love that!
    And I like both snap options. The skinny ribbing is cute with the little flaps. I love mistakes that force you to make design decisions.
    fun fun.

  2. I do not have a son but I will be making this for my nephews.
    I am new to your site and there are SO many things I want to make!
    It’s exciting!

  3. Love the hoodie. This is a perfect fix for 2 hoodies I have made that are too small to go over the head. I knew I had to have an opening but couldn’t figure out how to do it – you have solved my dilemma. Just sewed one, easy peasy. Thanks Rae.

  4. Awesome! That’s what you are! LOVE the tutorial. Thank you.

    On the gray hoodie, it looks like you stitched some white bias tape (maybe?), around the neck seam? Is that what it is? Looks so finished and pro.

    Thanks again!

    • Hi Bekah,

      Oh yeah! Forgot about that. Yes, I had some white twill tape that I just zigzag stitched over the hood/neck seam before I added the trim. It covers up the stitches and seam allowance there and yes, it looks nice! You could also do it with a strip of knit with the edges folded under. :)

  5. This is so great…I love this for both my sons and daughters!! I think I’ll have to make one into a hoodie dress for my daughters ASAP. Thanks for the tutorial! And I empathize with you on the snap removal…I tried to do that once and eventually had to cut it out and do a repair job :)

  6. thanks! This is so great! I don’t have boys but I am learning a ton from this series. Now if I could figure out how not to sleep I could get so much sewing done! Question, where did you get your snap maker? I have the one where you hit it with a hammer and I often swear when I use it. I would love something easier!

    • I think I just bought this one at Joann? It’s Dritz, they’re pretty easy to find. Though the Crafterhours gals swear by the hammer one, so you might be better off!! :)

  7. Love love love~ I haven’t had a chance to sew, I’ve been cleaning like a crazy lady as my mother in law is coming tomorrow…so need to make this for my guy!

  8. thank-you Rae! now i know the error i was making on hoods, its the ‘S’ curve on the neckline !
    been loving the series so much great stuff !

  9. Thank you! I love the splashes of orange and teal! So constantly inspired by your stuff that i want to stay up all night making all this good stuff myself! Thank you!!!

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